Hello everyone! Sept. has arrived, barely different than August here in Texas, where heat waves still clobber us most of the time. The next few months will be an enormously eventful time, so I will try and sketch all the details as vividly as possible! I submitted the first draft of the Rockford, IL punk/underground music text to Microcosm Press, which went well. I am hammering a new version out, working on tightening the narrative, adding a few more sharp anecdotes, tweaking the unity and flow of the text, etc. The title has been adjusted — the new version is Out of the Basement (which could not be more true, since that’s where I lived!): Punk in Rockford, Illinois, 1973-2005. As I informed the press, the book is a candid, democratic, and cutting edge portrayal of a rust belt city full of rebel kids making DIY music despite the odds. It is part memoir, part oral history, part music survey, and a poetic narrative of life in the 1970s-2000s, long before the Internet made punk accessible. It follows the trail of FM rockers with street cred, Cheap Trick, as well as numerous underground bands struggling to find spaces and a sense of community that honors their radical forebearers, like the local IWW branch. As soon as the production kicks into gear, I will announce the release date and book event details!
Next, I am zooming to Tulsa next weekend for an incredible celebration of punk conscience/politics at the Woody Guthrie Center, a perfect place to honor and highlight Washington DC punk, including the ethos and events of Revolution Summer and Dischord Records. Though they contacted me too late to insert me on the poster, I am thrilled to be taking part in a panel discussion on preservation and 21st century community archiving, hosting a panel with members of Scream (!) as well as Mark Anderson from Positive Force, and speaking one-on-one with Amy Pickering, from Dischord and the iconic band Fire Party! In addition, Bobby Sullivan from Soulside will be there playing a solo set too. I am very grateful for this opportunity, especially since my new book exploring the politics of punk is due out in January! We are currently editing that title as well, and I just submitted photos for the cover (MDC and DOA!), so I will share more information as it floats down to me. In the meantime, I hope you may visit Tulsa: you can see the overview of the weekend here.
Thirdly, I will also be appearing in Denver on Oct. 10 for the book release party at Mutiny Information Cafe for Denvoid, the compelling new work by scene maker, artist, musician, and folk historian Bob Medina that examines the ins and outs of one of America’s more isolated but frenetic and maverick scenes. For more information see here.
A few weeks ago I masterminded a benefit for Avery Pearl, the diabetic child (and punk drummer to be) of Mel Hell, a longtime Houston figure I wrote about in the Houston Press this past summer. Due to the efforts of 14 bands, we were able to raise over $3,000 for her! Obviously, her needs will be ongoing and expensive, so if you have a chance and feel like hearing her story, or might be able to provide a small donation to the cause, please visit Go Fund Me here.
I am excited to announce the release of Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows by Daniel Makagon, who helped guide my work about punk time/space/movement into the journal Liminalities a few years ago. In this new text offered by Microcosm Press, in which he quotes me a bit (a funny anecdote about being bummed out by the reality of staid, commercial “bars” versus makeshift DIY venues), he explores the democratic, participatory, and resilient side of punk culture. Be sure to visit his page here and look for my upcoming interview with him, now in process, hopefully on the Razorcake (my finger are crossed) website in the next few months. Also, I just turned in an interview with musical muckrakers The Drafted, an explosive and politically barbed punk unit from Baytown, TX, for the Houston Press, to be released next week. Once that occurs, I’ll add the link.
I am fortunate my research has made some more inroads into a current generation of young scholars interrogating/examining punk’s sense of diversity. First. E Cordova’s thesis “Rasquache or Die!: Chican@/Latin@ Punks Presente!” for the Chicano/Chicano Studies program at California State University Northridge (which used to hold amazing punk gigs!) references or quotes my work several times from a handful of different works, including my book Visual Vitriol and my essay “Slamdance in the No-Time Zone.” I am humbled by her efforts, and you may read her entire piece here. I am always more than willing to engage scholars across all fields. I also extend my thanks to Ricci Chavez Garcia, who also tapped Visual Vitriol info for his Ph. D dissertation “Border Hoppin’ Hardcore: The Forming of Latina/o Punks’ Transborder Civic Imagination on the Bajalta California Borderlands and the Refashioning of Punk’s Revolutionary Subjectivity, 1974-1999.” You can peruse that full text here.
Other related news: Gary Floyd and I will be working on a new book, a collection of his lyrics, starting in a few months, which will be a perfect follow-up to his memoir Please Bee Nice. He will be visiting my school soon and is often traveling with the new Dicks documentary film, Dicks from Texas, so be sure to stay abreast of those events here.
Lastly, ‘thank you’ to Dolf and the crew at Trust, like Andre, for printing my photo of Dave Dictor and MDC in the Aug/Sept. 2015 issue of the long-running magazine! Keep up the faith!